Spending time with family, attending holiday parties, volunteering, and going to the mall are all part of that favorite time of year: the holiday season. It all starts on Black Friday and runs full force until January 2.
All these festivities and errands lead to increasing amounts of cars and trucks on our roads. Unfortunately, this causes more traffic accidents during the holidays than other times of year.
Cities and neighborhoods are full of all kinds of freight and delivery trucks throughout these months. The Washington Post has reported that the USPS delivers close to 600 million packages, and that FedEx transports around 300 million throughout the holiday season. A corresponding spike in the amount of freight truck crashes shows a higher accident risk, which is around 10 percent.
The trucking industry has a reputation for encouraging its drivers to work long hours. Without proper rest, serious driver fatigue can occur. During this time of the year, drivers have especially busy schedules, and can end up working more hours than usual.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations state that a driver cannot work more than 70 hours over seven days. Companies and their drivers may not monitor or enforce this law, especially if they are trying to meet delivery deadlines.
Another factor that causes truck accidents is bad weather. Late November and December can be rainy, snowy, and/or windy, and poor driving conditions also contribute to more crashes. If a driver is not well-trained, they can easily lose control of their truck.
Companies may hire extra drivers during the season to keep up with the workload. If they cannot find qualified ones, they may hire those with less experience.
Even if the weather is fine, it is always smart to decrease speed when driving near a truck. Tailgating them or passing at unsafe speeds is very hazardous. It is easy to get caught up in holiday stress; but aggressive driving around these large vehicles is a recipe for disaster.
These trucks also have large blind spots, which should always be avoided. They are located directly behind and directly in front of the truck, and next to both of the doors of the truck’s cab.
The most important safety recommendation for holiday driving around trucks is to keep a good distance. Driving alongside of one should never be done for more than a few minutes. If the truck driver indicates that the truck is going to move into another lane or merge, they should be given extra room by other drivers.
These trucks also need extra room to stop; if they brake suddenly, they can cause a collision. For example: If there is unexpected debris in the road, it would take a tractor trailer much longer to slow down to avoid a crash. A tailgating, speeding car behind it could easily crash into the back of the truck, causing a serious or even fatal accident.
Even the safest drivers can become involved in truck accidents during the busy holiday season. For effective legal representation, truck accident victims can contact a knowledgeable Wilmington truck accident lawyer at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Call us at 302-656-5445 for a free evaluation, or complete an online form. We have offices in Wilmington and Georgetown, Delaware, and fight for clients throughout Delaware, including Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.